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Soundbar or 5.1 Surround Sound? (1 Viewer)

sedor

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Ryan
Ok so admittedly I am a noob in the home theater arena (we all have to start somewhere right). My experience is limited to...well basically I just enjoy watching a lot of tv. I tend to watch mostly HD tv programming through my cable box and I also stream a lot of media through my xbox 360. I am not HUGE into movies but I do watch them occasionally (as in maybe 1 or 2 per week). My media room is a small/medium sized living room (maybe 10X15 give or take a few feet). Let me start off by describing my setup and goals as well as budget.


All I have at the moment is the tv, which is a 50" Samsung Plasma 1080p. My goal is to stop using the nasty built in tv speakers and upgrade to something worthwhile without blowing my budget and getting way more equipment than I need. I'd also prefer to start small with quality gear and have the option to upgrade if needed in the future (for instance maybe start with a 2.1 setup with the option to upgrade to a 5.1. I don't know if this is even possible. Told you I was a noob).


So far I have been debating on starting with a Polk Audio IHT 3000 Soundbar. I know that by going this route I have absolutely no upgrading options, but I figured that with the affordable price tag if I chose to upgrade to a better system I could put this in my bedroom paired with my 32" Samsung. Of course I am the type of person who understands that you get what you pay for and one thing I want to avoid is cheap, no-name equipment that won't hold its value and i'll want to trade out in a matter of months. I feel like I might spend $300 on the polk audio soundbar and almost instantly not be completely satisfied with the results. True I could place it on my other tv, but my goal right now is to get something on my larger screen.


Realistically I think i'll end up spending between $400 - $600 but maybe i'm completely off...does a quality system always cost more than this? Can I start with a few quality pieces and add more as time goes by?


Suggestions on specific equipment would be greatly appreciated. Please help me make a good decision!
 

Robert_J

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A 2.1 system from Elemental Designs will run you around $850 for the speakers (1 up from the lowest level) and their smallest sub. Add in a good $400 receiver and you are at $1,200. Some people will think this is overkill and all you need is a $99 system from Wal-Mart. Others wouldn't touch this crap with a 10 foot pole. It's all about what you think is quality. The only way to determine this is go listen to some speakers.


I started out in high school with Sears speakers. They were LOUD and that's what you wanted in the 80's. I kept listening, trying new things and finally built a set of speakers based on a proven design that is available for free on the net. I never knew what I was missing. I've been listening to these speakers for the last 4 years. I knew they weren't perfect but they were better than anything I ever owned. Last Friday I had the opportunity to listen to speakers that cost $55,000 a pair. You don't listen to those speakers, you experience them. I finally have a reference point and another goal. I'll never own anything close to this but I know what sounds good and what sounds like crap.
 

sedor

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Oct 3, 2010
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Ryan
My other option might be to go with a Samsung HW-C700 7.2 Receiver priced on sale at $229.00:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882676164


And a set of Polk Audio RM75 Speaker combo which comes with the front/left, surround, and center speaker as well as a couple stands as a freebie for $229.00:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882290146


And last but not least, a polk audio PSW10 sub for $99, but I have to admit I am going with the cheapest polk sub simply to stay in budget. Will this still be a decent piece of equipment:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882290034


Or, I could save a little on the speaker setup and go with the same receiver (is this a decent receiver, its got HDMI inputs which I know I want) and go with this polk speaker set that comes bundled with the subwoofer for $229.00 (I just didn't like the look of the speakers as much):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882290066
 

Robert_J

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Up your sub budget $50 and get this one - http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=300-635


I have never listened to a Samsung receiver. I didn't even know they made a receiver but this one looks good and it gets some good reviews.
 

sedor

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Ryan
Craigslist was my friend on this one and last minute I actually found an awesome deal on an Onkyo SR508, a Klipsch Quintet III, and a Klipsch 12" Subwoofer. All for $400, which was the very low end of my budget.
 

gene c

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That was a great deal. Sometimes craigslist is a friend and sometimes I find great deals on things I don't need! I picked up an good-as-new Integra 9.8 pre-pro a couple of weeks ago for only $400
 

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